tv Charlie Rose WHUT December 12, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EST
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight the european debt isis with former secretary of the treasury robert rubin and u.s. managing editor of "the financial times" jillian tet. >> if u step back from all of the financial details of what is going on, you have a project that was supposed to bring europe together and heal the wounds oworld war ii and for such a long time the political dream has trumped any economic logic. what has changed in the last few weeks is we're going to see that political dream essentially go into reverse. >> we conclude with bernard henri-levy the french philosopher and author who played a role in the war that overthrew qaz avi. his book about it is called war without love >> i come back to france with the intuition that
these guys having been able to do that, with bare hands, if we gave them some real weapons, they would be able to take-- and they went to sarkozy and i told him that and he said okay, let's think. i told him why should i not bring to you the guys who did that, the guys with bare hands. it is what we did. >> robert rubin, gillian tet an bernard heni-levi when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose was provided by the following:
>> european leaders gathered today at a pivotal summit in brussels to tackle the debt cries i all of the eu countries except britain signed a pact with formal agreements to run minimal budget deficits. prime minister david cameron argued the deal was not in his country's interests. the divisions were clear in remarks by european leaders after the summit. european union leaders also plged today to increase their bailout funds. joining me now, robert rubin, treasury secretary under president clinton and gillian tet of "the financial times". when you sat down you said to me which wenow but it's portant, a this is complicated, and b this is becoming increasingly serious. >> correct. >> tell me, answer both of those questions, why is this so complicated and what's the real threat of thi >> i think in a word, charlie, it's complicated because it involves such an enormous number of what are truly subsntively very complicated issues. one simple example. we talk about austerity in
the crisis countries. on the other hand if you have too much aterity it undermines growth to too great a degree and you can undermine the whole process and get a negative effect in terms of your fiscal position rather than a positive effect. in terms of the importance of it, i believe that if the eurozone fails and there are many ways in which that failure can take place t is highly unlikely that once that failure happens it will be containable. if is not containable, i think it's not just the eurozone questions but i think the impacts would be severe. and probably actually highly severe. within the eurozone, across europe, on the united states and across the globe. >> becau europe will no longer be a market for these people to sell their products. >> s that-- that's only one piece of it. that is the demand piece and it's importa but i think there are other pieces that are probably much more important. the contagion in the markets. the affects it would have on financial institutions, and not just the first order. if you have an american institution that looks like
a healthy shape and it has credit exposu to a european institution it actually is okay. but in the european has exposure at the second and third levels f will you, to other institutions that are inad shape, all of a sudden the one you have your is itself in trouble. so there are second, third and fourth order effects here that ar unpredictable but could be really extremely severe. >> rose: does this all go to the european banks who loan money to these governments that can't pay it back now? >> it's partly a problem of the banks. it's partly a problem of sovereigns that have unsound fiscal conditions. and i would argue, and i don't know if gillian agrees or not but it's partly a problem of markets that didn't foresee these problems. and as a result, are providing capital. it's really a market failure. capital to the sovereigns at interest rates that didn't begin to reflect what turned out to be the real credit risk. >> i mean another way to put it, if are you dealing with 17 countries or 25 cotries,
each with different political trajectories and a terrible bitter irony was that a project which was supposed to bring europe together is actually opening, reopening wounds that people thought had been heeled after world war ii that is the first point. the second key issue is that we're dealing both with a solvency problem and liquidity problem. and we've seen this play out before in the u.s. banking crisis. and what you have right now is you have countries which may not be solvent. you have banks which may not be solvent. and you need one set of remedies to deal with that. but you've also got a very, very severe liquidity issue right now in terms of how the markets are functioning, as bob says. and again that's a separate set of issues and separate set of remedies that need to be tackled. and it's very tough to be fighting an oul these different fronts at once. >> can i make it even more complicated because i think gillian is absolutely right. take italy t has thought to have a liquidity problem. the trouble is if there are no markets for their sovereign bonds, and the interest rate goes high enough, then those become
unsustainable and what 4 been a liquid problem becomes a solvency problem and that increases the complexity of all that. >> it is kind of what we saw play out with lehman problems where solvency problem, liquidity problem reinforced each other. but they need different soluti. both the european central bank and the governments doing different things and doing them in tan department and we saw how hard it was in the u.s. to get the famous-- that hajj paulson-- to end the problems in 2008. i mean if you get, have problems getting one person for a bazooka, try to get 17 people in a straight line. >> also part of the problem that i mean, greece alone would be maneable, greece alone. >> would have been manageable. >> would have been manageable. >> rose: but the problem is when you start talking about italy and spain you are talking about trillions of dollars rather than hundreds of beings of dollars. >> you're talking about a lot of money but it's not just the money at the moment. because some is europe has enough money to deal with the problems. >> regardless. >> the realhether or not issuis whether or not germany the rich coury will let its resours be used to bail out the rest
and eentially underwrite the credit of the entire group. >> it's inresting that people used to worry about germany not doing too much. now they worry about germany doing too little. >> as gillian said this cannot work thout germany t even if germany does what it needs to do and that is a tremendously difficult situation with germany there are complex bstantiv issues. there is no commeator i have seen, gillian, who says this can work without very substantial european central bank activity. >> right. >> on the her hand mario-- said and i think he's right that he has got to preserve his credibility in terms of his commitment to fighting inflation. if he were to suddenly-- the increase, the use of the euro, you could conceivably, i think there is a real risk that you would get tremendous fear of lonterm inflation in europe and the holders of euro denominated security was go to sell those securities and you would be undermining the exact effect are you trying to accomplish. this is a very complex matter. >> rose: do we have a role in this?
>> i think, it's an interesting problem, charlie, because our own fiscal position as you know is very troubled. so we don't have the financial resource. and secondly when we go-- i think the world of tim geithner, but i think it is very hard when you are secretary to go to europe and advise them on their fiscal problems when your own fiscal house is in such disorder. there ought to be a lesson with respect to getting our own house in order. >> rose: meang if we don't get our house in order we could be looking at the same them europe is lking at today. >> at some point, right. secondly if the imf is going to be used in some way or another t looks like tt is part of the plan, the u.s. has to support the use of the imf and i think there are really complicad issues ithatuestion as well. >> the congress right now is hardly widely supportive of the imf in general. you have indications already from washington that they don't want to provide more money to support the imf moves and that's a real problem. >> what worries me is not only won't they provide more money, but let's say the europeans come up with the $200 billion which they now
said they will. let's y they lend it to the imf and the imf lends it back to up. >>. you could see european objections to the notion that the imf is a money good credit for the european lenders to the imf and they are lending to the crisis countries which are not money good and i could see a problem in congress around that. >> i think we should do that . i think we should support the imf but i could see how it could become difficult for this country. >> if you step back from all the financial details of what's going on, you have a project that was suppod to bring europe together and heal the wounds of world war ii. and for such a long time t political dream has trumped any economic logic. what has changedn the last few weeks is we're going to see that political dream essentiay go into reverse and it's becoming clear the your ozone is reopening some of those wounds and making the continent more fractured. >> at which point people are starting to say why are they doing. >> we haven't talked about sarkozy. and his relationship betwee france and germany and his competition with merkel.
>> that's an extraordinary dance. i mean somebody is going t write the most amazing drama. could you get two leaders who are more different. i mean it's like one of reality tv wife swap shows where people put them together and see what happens. i mean somehow they have forged a kind of pact, more out of desperation. but again part of the probleis theragili of that pact. anyone who looks at their body language doesn't see two leaders who are actually acting in concert together way comm vision at all. and that's adding -- >> how would you define their different agendas? >> essentially, angela merkel wants the rest of europe to be german, in terms of the way they behave, exactly. not too much spending. work hard, et cetera. >> rose: that is mazing fundamentals look what it has done for germany. and if the nations had done what germany has done they would be in a bter place. >> there si a critical issue because germany benefitted for exporting to everyone else. it is a bit of-- you can't have erybody exporting all the time. >> rose: as long as they are
buying a lot of stuff they bought gern stuff. >> and what sarkozy wants most of all at t moment apart from to get re-elected is to make sure france maintains its top-notch credit rating. and that is a real threat at the moment. so you have quite differt agendas. i don't know what bob thinks interms of wch aim is more viable. >> i thi you raisea really good question, gillian. because in addition to austerity and what germany wants the rest of europe to be like, what there has been far tolittle focus on at least in my opinion s that you've also got to try to promote growth. because austerity by itself is contractive. many of these crisis countries had tremendous competitiveness problems anyways. they couldn't obviously deal with them through devaluing their own currency because they don't have a currency. so what they need is very substantial reform with respect to labor law, unwarranted restrictions on business and various other aspects of their domestic policy agenda that deters growth. because if you don't, if you have, if you don't have the right growth trajectory f you don't have the growth
traject other that supports what you are doing it can yun mine everything that is going on. there is far too little focus on that. >> rose: what wod you do if you could force them to do something, what would you do. >> force who to do what? >> rose: the europeans. >> if you were angela merkel. >> rose: exactly, no, you are saying what would you force them to do. would you say, this is the reality that germany will do this, and you guys will agree to do this, is that simple. >> i don't think so. because i think some of these substantiv problems don't have to me at least absolutely clear resolutions. but i would start one step earlier than you what just said, charlie. if he with-- in t days when president clinton was there if we with had the ability to do what you had said, when greece first became a problem we would have said you have got to deal with it now and then create firewalls so that you deal with greece, and you create firewalls so you don't have contagion. >> rose: the we being the rest of europe. >> yeah, the eurozone, the eurozone. and whatever way, maybe including the imf, i don't know. because the longer you let it go on, the morerisk you
have of contagion and pulling in, and creating problems for other countries. which is precisely what has happened. that is what i meant before when i said that they have been behind the curve through this whole thing and the longer you let it go on, the hard ter is to resolve it. >> rose: i'm thinking of a dinner you and i were attending and there was a wise man there who said they will not be able to solve it. >> i remember the dinner very well. i-- when you look at this and you look at what it would take to muddle through, and i think muddle through is the only alternative right now. i don't think a real systemic solution is possible right now. you look at all the complexities, substantive and political of the steps that need to be taken to muddle through, when i do that, i really become very concerned. i have reached the point i think there is a relatively low probability they will pull through. >> if it wor. >> there is a relative low priority of the nightmare scenario. >> no, low probability that they will work their way through it but then i look at what could be catastrophic impacts if they haveailure and failure could take many forms.
and my own conclusion is that because of the severity of the effects that would result from failure in o of the many forms of failure could take place, and i think the highly unlikely possibility that a failure does start they can contain it, i think the probability is somewhat better that they will muddle their way through to some interim sustainable state while they work on the long-term than that they will fail. but the risk are substantial, the uncertainty is substantial and i think you will have a lot of volume at this time for a period of time. >> what bob is saying is terrifying, that the best we can look for is a low grade mess, that is the best option, a low grade mess and stagnation for quite a long time. and that's a good option. >> rose: well, let me clarify, just if i could clarify. >> i think the best we can look forward to would be a muddling through over some period of time, say x months or a year, whatever may be, to a point that then a sustainable for some
period of time while they work out a long-term solution. but i think you have identified another really important problem which is somehow or other as they go through this they have also got to focus on doing everything they ca conceivably do to promote growth. because otherwise they won't be able to muddle through in the first place because they will have a gdp trajectory that wl undermine what they are doing and they will have social and economic conditions that may not be sustainable. >> i agree. and it's extremely alarming. i mean sitting here in america right now, you wonder really, where is that growth going to come from i mean it's not like america is about to be a vibrant, you know, source of demand in the obal economy. and china has got big questions abou it where is global growth going toome from. >> there are two things at the least theyan do, though both difficult politically. germany could move as we said a mute ago, similar to a china problem,they could move to domestic demand led growth intend-- instead of exporting. and secondly there are reforms that could take place in italy and sman. but the politics of those are very diffilt because there are strong vested interests to prevent that.
>> and as of yet angela merkel has not talked about boosting domesticrowth inside germany at all. has she ever said we will get the germans -- >> an china has a very different scenario too because they have a rising middle class. they ought to provide some of the demand, yes? >> they have a rising-- china is a whole different subject. >> rose: exactly. >> and china does have a rising mdle class but if we had enough trouble in the global economy this could affect them as well. this notion of a split screen that somehow or other some othe emerging countries continue to do well while all this thing is in terrible trouble is i think probably -- >> my point was that you don't have a rising middle class in germany. you ve a middle class that is already there, that is an existent middle class in germanwhereas you have in china an emerging economy which is more and more, millions and millions of people are entering the middle class. >> but you have the fiscal room in germany, if you wanted to and enough savings rate so that you could try to promote both greater
consumption and also greater fiscal stimulus at the federal level. >> but i think what charlie is saying, the crucial point what we are both saying, is there was a great belief before 2008 that the world was decoupling. that emerging markets are somehow separate from the developed world and they provide the growthment by golly did we learn in 2008 and 2009 that at was a bit of a fallacy. and unfortunately much of the optimism that has been blowing up the markets in the last year or two has been back to the-- we will find out whether that actually works or not. >> rose: what was the metaphor you i heard you use this morning about this reprinds you of what? >> oh, well you switch on the television you see another set of images of merkel and sarkozy a hers and it is like groundhog day. i don't know how you sayt is french but that is really what going on with all the european summits. and the other analogy it is like having a friend in a really bad relationship and they call you up every night and say youever guess what my guy friend girlfriend did next. you listen and think just get on and get a solution.
dump them or work it out. and we're back here again. every single day we have another summit, another s of negotiations. and it goes on and on. >> ros and i thought they had it solved and we'll say thank god we were there t make some analysis and then you get up the fix day and it hasn't happened. >> but here is the issue, underneathhis illusion of endless slow moving here we go up and down, up and down kind of thing the markets are gumming up. they are really big questions about how-- . >> rose: markets are gumming up. >> youe got the bank, europeananks that have to raise a lot of money over the next few mohs in the markets and they're having problems. and so you might feel it just kind of like same old same old but beneath the at the time tonic plates in what appears to be the boring bs of global markets there is trouble brewing. >> rose: speak to that. >> i agree. if you look at the runs on the banks in europe in the crisis countries they are starting to pick up. depositors are taking their deposits out of the countries and moving them elsewhere. i think now the estimate is, the estimate rather to come out of the stress test recently in europe is they
need $150 billion your ows to deal with their current problems. one question is that enough. second question is where is it goingo come from and thirdly even if they get there, charlie t doesn't give them the strength to continue to lend and if they are going to have growth in europe they have to not only deal with their existing problems in the banks which itself is a very serious issue but they have to have additional strength so they can lend. that all this, you can take all of these, all the issues we have discussed plus many, many others and you wind up with the full pan oply if you will of complexities and the question is what is your judgement as to what is going to happen. i will go back to something i said before. i think when you do that, you get an extremely troubled view as to what the probabilities are. but when you consider the catastrophe not just the eurozone but globally that could occur if there is real failure and the are many forms of failure possible, i on balance still think at the end of the day th potentl for catastrophe is going to cause them to do what they need to do. but boy, i totally agree with gillian till be uncertain.
>> there is the big estion. are you convinced as he is at the end of the day they dr. ing to do. >> i didn't say convinced. i said more likely than not. >> you said more likely. do you believe more likely than not that they will at the end of the day when they are looking into the -- >> into the abyss. >> into the abyss. >> i think that probably i would say 50/50% chance that when he you come to the edge of the abyss angela merkel will make a decision to pull back. that's my best -- judgement. >> bullrom-- pull back from what. >> from the demands she was making. >> i think they will come together more closely. they will be forced to do a common fiscal transfer. joint euro bond, all the things we associate with the united states of ameri, some element of at will probably have to come into europe. it's going to take a long time before they get there. >> that is my point. >> and they may t, they may not. >> when do they come to th abyss andhow do we know that? >> i think, i totally agr with you, that would take a long time to get ere. i think they've got to take some set of measures in the
interim that gets them to me interim sustainability because that will take years to try t figure their way through it. the fiscal policy which is basically a surrender of national sovereignty and you fi ou how you can do it mechanically, one is muddling through to something that is, i think say it takes six months or a yearthat is what they were working on. now if they can getthere which is extremely complicate kd, then they sustain themselves for a while while they try to work out a long-term solution, and have another set of complications. >> you are admiring a mario dagi. >> i think-- let me say, he happens to be a friend but leaving that aside, i think he's extraordinarily capable. i think he's practical and i can't think of anybody i would rather see in that job. but i also think he has an extraordinarily difficult job. because it is not that there is a solution, even if mrs. merkel says okay, mario, you do whatever you think is necessary, i think he has some tremendous conundrum to deal with. if he dploods the markets
with your owes which in one sense you say he has too and then loses his credibility on inflation, you could see-- i said this before, the holders of youreau demomatured securities dump them and undermine you what are trying to accomplish and secondly he has to have a reasonable fiscal conditionality or the weaker countries will do the same thing all over again. >> it comes to the point bob made about the complexity of the oble what got america out of the hole in 2008 was close, tight coordination between tim geithner, ben bernanke and hank paulson. you had a very tight nit group that were operating. and -- >> trying to create that in the europeansituation is very hard because you need to balance off one action against another action across 17 countries. >> rose: the interesting thing, they saw their interestses as the same. fear of the abyss, did they not. >> in the u.s. situation. >> rose: yeah. >> sure they did. >> rose: they said this whole system could collapse unless we do something. >> that's right, charlie but my guess, my hope would be
that at some point sarkozy, merkel and all-- and the people involved in the crisis countries all y the same thing. because the reality is their choice is either they deal with this in some way that is effective or i think we have a real risk of an abyss for all of us. themut also us. >> they go down and we go down too in some respects. >> in terms of damage to economic recovery and worse. >> tha you. >> thank you. bernard henri-levy is here, a french intellectual and, he traveled to benghazi and later encouraged president sarkozy to take the lead in intervening in lib ya, the country's first democratic elections are scheduled for the middle of 20126789 he has recently relead his personal journal of e uprising in libya, translated into english t is called war without love. i'm pleased to have other friend bernard henri-levy back at this table to talk about a remarkable opportunity he had in life to affect the course of
history because it was his friendship with sarkozy and his encouragement to sarkoz at france could play an important role in history that even everybody now, agrees andnderstands, helped the president of france to make a decision to intervene and then after that, others decided to intervene. so ielcome you to the program. >> thank you. >> rose: good to see you. why dow call it that title, why without love. >> i mean that it was a necessary war, a just war, as michael-- would say but even a just and necessary war is always awful. you cannot love war. i saw war. i saw it so off then my life. i saw it in libya. it is disgusting. there are some victims. but nevertheless, it was ju. it had to be waged. so that's why i gave it this
title. >> rose: okay. let's tell the story even though we reflect and it before. soou actually go to trir square in cairo and are you a little late for the events that have unfolded there. what lead you from to go there by taxi? >> not even by taxi. in a little truck, in a lory delivering some vegetables to benghazi, each ten kilometers i was in this lory of vegetables. and i wanted to go to benghazi. why? because i saw as everybody, i saw some images of the demonstrations in tripoli with planes of-- shooting them. and this image for me was so disgusting, so terrible, the idea of this revolt being solved in rivers of blood which qaddafi say was really
unendureable. so it was an instinct. i am a philosopher but also a man of everyone. of instinct i had to be there. >> rose: if you wanted to be there to find out what was going on. you didn't intend to go there to somehow play a role, or not. >> no, i wanted to see wt was going on. and i had probably in the back of my mind as hi in bosnia, i was in a way in a humble way not the opposite of free-- i did not need to have a mission. i did not need to have a mandate, to try to do something and to act. i did in bosnia. in bosnia i went just to see but i made a movie. i demonstrated. i came to hitter and and so on. in a da-- da fur, i did the same. i i went to president chir ak, i tried to convince him. so in aay i did that all my life, bearing witness and trying to convince the authorities of my country.
and i failed. i failed in bosnia. we failed in ba fur. i failed in bangladesh, 40 years ago, for the rst time i libya, this is, this is life. it is. >> rose: the results are good. >> the result was od, yes. >> rose: interesting you mentioned holbrooke because you just saw me tape a conversation with holbrooke's widow and two journalists about him. and the notion of his life. and i had reflected on the fact that he was drawn to where there was conflict and where his curiosity took him. and as you say that, i think about the time the two of you ended up in georgia, at a moment, and you were together because hi actually told you that he was going to be there and you ended up togeth talking to the president of georgia. >> it is the last time i saw holbrooke. i went back to europe and he just arrived. and we had the chat at the airport. and we we lead by th same basic insdining. there is a place where-- same
baik instinct there is a place where mankind pleased, where there is an open wound and something has to be ne if we want to be worth of being an american, or worth of being french. if we want to be an attitude of our values, we must try to help. >> rose: for you, not for him, but for you what is it about you and your life's experience that make you want to be there? bangladesh, georgia, cairo, bosnia. >> afghanistan, pakistan. >> i belong to a generation which was raised in the memory of fascism and fight against fascism. my father was a fighter in the republican army in spain. international brigade. >> rose: you get to benghazi, what do you see?
>> when i get, first of all on the road from the border to benghazi i see the traces of the bloodbath having already begun. i e on the walls of the farms some splashes of blood, of sum aree ecutions. i see these sort of things. then in benghazi there is an incrible, if i dare say luck. i happen to be the first foreignero see a few minutes fore it is really embodied, the ntc. the provisional government, we know in benghazi, t few foreigners there know that there is a secret man, who is a secr chief ofthis uprising but nobody, few saw him. i happened to meet him. and i think that he looks like a good guy. he is probably not, we don't share exactly the same values. but i recognize in him a
good guy. >> rose: how do you get to see him? by a series of circumstances because i am stubborn, because i am a little crazy. because i never stop and insist, i happen to see him. and in front of him, i am so distressed by the misery of these people and the weakness of this man. he has a destiny of his people in his hands and he's completely weak so it comes like this. >> rose: weak in what way, in that he has no power. alone, no power, no weapon, few fighters. >> rose: defenseless. >> defenseless, i saw, the day before i went on the front line i saw the young fighters who had never in their life had a weapon in their has. and fighting in such an heroic way. but i know that they will be
completely swept away. that they will be-- qad avi will completely destroy them. i saw this man, very humble, very shy, king without wanting it, if i dare say. and i tell him, if i call my president sarkozywould you accept to come with me, you or some representative, and he said yes, why not. and then i called sarkozy. we did not speak since four years, hardly. we spoke once. we were friends in the past but no longer since the election. >> rose: because you supported his opponent, an written abouit. >> because i am-- i am a liberal, socialist, if you will. so i call him. >> rose: you supported his opponent. >> yes, the surprise of my life, i call president sarkozy. >> rose: did you call him or did you call his staff. >> i call him. >> rose: you called directly. >> by the general number of the palace, our white house. i call him.
i have it on the line, sort of miracle. i tell him what happen, in a few words, whom i just saw, and i tell him do you want to bring him to you. he said okay. i said-- . >> rose: why would he say okay? was it a time in his life thate was looking in a sense to have more influence and thought that this may make an opportunity. did he think that, what? >> there are many reasons but i think it is deep reasons. he will say okay again in a few circumstces. two months after, when i will see general-- ed o who will be assassated a few weeks after, same thing. i see him, again defenseless, again weak. i call again sarkozy. i bring him in a plane to sarkozy. we arrive at midnight on the 13 of april. again, he receives him. in july, he again i bring to sarkozy the defenders of
misurata, the whom i, which i believed to be able to become an offensive city and to take tripoli. so sarkozy has been consistent. has been constant in his will from beginning, march 5 when he ceives with me the people of-- till the end. till july and augu when he is convinced and when i bring him to him, in order to be convinced that misurata is a key of tripoli. so he has had complete consistency in that. why? i think that hewas obsessed by the memory of bosnia. >>ose: he recognizes and confirms that it wathe call from you that lead to frce's involvement. >> probably, yes. >> rose: probably. >> yes, yes. it played, i think it played a role, of course. and same for when i broht,
when i rent a fishing boat out of misurata to go to malz and then to paris by plane with the commoners of misurata. he received them, and this was in the decision to give-- remember offensive weapons to misurata. remember it was at a time when the war was concentrated around benghazi. the rebels advanced one kilometer and they lost it, advanced, lost. like in the-- war, in the second war. and then the idea came that the only way to proceedwas change the front line. and to go to misurata. because in misurata, i went there in april, i went six times libya, seven times. and in misurata i went there at the peak of the siege and of the mar-- of the city. and i saw this incredible image of citizens, having
repaed the tanks with nearly bare hands. the tanks were inside the city. they tear the city into two, destroyed it and the citizens repelled mer after meter the tanks. and i came back to france with the intuition that these guysaving been able to do that, with bare hands, if we gave them some real weapons they would be able to take tripoli. and i went to sar kosesy and i told him tham. and he said okay, let's think. i told him why should i not bring to you the guys without did that. the guys with bare hands. it is what we did. >> but you also told him that blood would flow and it would be a stain onhe french flag if that happened. >> yes. this was so strange for me. i'm not-- france has not the same relationship with the flag.
america has clothe its and nearly fresh-- it is the first time in lie life i spoke about the flag of france. and suddenly it happened to me, when i came back from benghazi there was some french flags everywhere because sarkozy had already said something about the revolt. and this is probably one of the little things which went right into the brain of president sarkozy when i told him that. if we don't help them, the blood of the rebels will splash the french magazine it-- flag. and i saw in his eyes, yo know, history, big history ofumanity, sometimes relies on little detail, man-to-man emotions, and so on. >> this may have been one of those moments. >> it might be. it might be. it might have been. i don't know because we never did the debriefing, sarkozy and me about all these. >> he never reflected to new
whatever conversations you've had with him about isn't that strange, bernard, that we are ending up here on the same side trying to do something, because you happen to be there. and because you made this connection between those rebels and the government and a person who had the capacity to do something. never a reflection, never a personaleflection about we find ourselve on the same field, the same field of conflict. >> no, because frankly -- >> there is no poetry in his soul. >> we met so many, we met, i think, 35 or 40 times. >> right, that's my point. >> over all that time ere was never a reflection on what ts is about. >> and strangely enough it was a new sarkozy it was a new sarkozy. not so open to personnel feelings. the 40 times we met or spoke on the phone, it was strategic conversations. was ecise questions. he knew very well the five
questions about america. we had a long conversation one day onhy obama was such, so much on the backseat. >> was willing to take the backseat, that's right. >> why sarkozy. >> in the beginning,. >> the war would have been impossible without america. america gave such a huge support. >> right. >> after that the president said let them take the lead and we'll provide support. >> so this was the mysterious of sarkozy. so we had a human conversation on why. my theory was that obama was probably paralyzed by his nobel prize. i told sarkozy that maybe a president who had the luck of the-- missed luck, i don't know to have had the first year, may be hands like this i don't know. >> i don know if that is true either. i doubt it. >> we had these
convertions on clinton, on cameron. but on personnel-- personal relationship, strangely not. in spite of the fact that we knew each other. >> you also knew becse of bosnia, stephanie powers, right. >> we don't really know but we were in contact. >> of course. and is in america she was on the national security council. >> of course. and without this, rice, power an clinton, qaddafi will still be in his throne. and benghazi would have been he raised from the map of the planet. it was three women in america, a young caddette of history in england, cameron, david cameron, a cadet, a man who had no historical experience no experience of history with a big h. and sarkozy who took the lead from beginning to end,
obviously. so it was against the public opinions. it is a very rare case this war. public opinion were not in favor. the militaries did not trust this operation. it is three women, two men, a few war reporters in "the new york times" n "the washington post," in france, who made this strange intellectual coalition which lead tthis war and to this victory of freedomgainst tyranny, whatever might b the-- the episodes which coming out. you-- whof you look at what would-- who has done this kind of thing in your judgement like you did in the role you played? what historic journalist or writing might have had this, that you mightave thought they shared, we share at least the same passion to live history. >> the passion to live
history a lot of people and of writers had it. most of them did much more than i did. george orwell really did fight. earnest hemmingway took risks which probably. >> rose: in spain. >> in spain, which i probably did not. so there is a lot who took, who made more. but i must say that this strange circumstance of relationship between a writer and the president, with reputation, because it happened many times during this month, this link of confidence, these authorization that is implic, authorization which sarkozy gave me very quickly. >> to do what. >> to-- with him without going through -- >> ar the initial phone call. >> after the initial phone call. there were a lot of phone calls. i received, for example, in august 20 or 21 a call from
jab little announce the final-- of tripoli and i cited to sarkozy. this link of confidence, this authorization to bypass all the bureaucracies of france, this does nothappen often. >> so the rebels have prevailed. they are in power. how will it turn out? >> i don't know. it may-- democracy is the source and the nest of the best and sometimes of the worst, of course. but my feeling is that it will turn in libya, probably better than in egypt or tunesia. think of what --. >> rose: or syria. >> syria, syria for the moment, the real emergency is to get rid of bashar al-assad and this daily bloodbath 30, 40, 50 dead every day. but in libya, in part
because of this involvent of the west, in part because of thismage the west gave to the people of libya, it might turn well. >> but there is a lot of competition among diverse groups who are part of the effort to overthrow qaddafi there is competition for power. there is competition for influence. >> like in all democracies. >> but it was a tribal community too. >> yes, but not-- not so much, there is less tribal division today than before. iaw, i was witness on that duri all the time of the war. my feeling is that the common fight, the brotherhoodin battles did reduce the tribe influence. and ielate in the book one gathering of all tribes of libya which was organized of which i was witness and so on. and i saw the overwhelming
of this tribal division. so it is not the mainstream, and in the new government which was formed a few days ago, how many islamists and ministers. no one, no one. there is no islamists in the government of libya. and one very important point is that these people of libya saw that the old image of al qaeda, of the extremist islam and so on, of jews and crusaders wanting the loss of muslim world, was just stupid. they saw the -- some of the embodiments of the jews and crusaders like sarkozy. and like in the low level-- and they saw these people coming and giving them hand. and it completely shaped the vision of the world. i had a meeti at the end of the war with the guy who is supposed to be the most
extremis in libya. we spent all evening and even part of the night. >> rose: some are saido be from al qaeda. >> yes, abdul hackim-- i saw him at a farm away from benghazi surrounded by his guys, heavy weapons and so on. and we had a strong discussion. i toll him that i was a jew. i told him that i was pro-israel, unconditionally that it is the-- that it was in-- he told me about islam. we had this harsh conversation. at thend of the conversation, he understood that the-- his old pattern of west against him, of jews against islam might not be as true as he thought. of course, there was a sort of, nobody convinced the other. i did not convince him.
he did not convince me, even less. but at least the terrible bloody clash of civilizations pattern which was also al qaeda's idea, al qaeda and all these guys, really believed there there was merciless clash between them and us. they saw that it was not the case. this ors. the pilots of the french and british planes are powerless, coming and helping them. >> so you do not believe as someear that the arab spring will turn into the arab winter? >> no. i think that as all revolutions includi ours, french, french revolution, french revolution. >> especially the french revolution. >> especially, yes. there was of course terror. there was of course one and even two empires. there was one restoration, winter, autumn, and at the
end of the day, a sort of spring in which we still are. volutions are like this. even you are in a frozen history, frozen history. it is qaddafi, bashar al-assad, bu it cannot last very long. at the point, it blows up. all you in real history which is what happens in the arab world and then there is some internal clash, internal quaels, islamist against-- muslim extremism againstecularism, but instead of being underground, behind a frozen earth, it is open. it is a real clash. >> so therefore -- >> yes, of course. this is what is happening today in libya, in egypt also. egypt i know less but it can give the worst, of course,
but it can also give the best. and in any case, to have prevented a bloodbath, to have prevented what qaddafi and his s did announce which is rivers of blood in again benghazi, in any case, whatever can happen, this was -- >> awe assume that the son will be tried in libya and not at the hague because they will not release him to go to the hague? >> i think that there will be-- there will be a compromise. what i feel and what i feel, let's say, is that he will be judged in libya under the-- and with the witnessing and with the presence of people of the hague it will be a sort of compromise between the two. and i assume the qaddi death, the range of qaddafi was horrible t was disgusting. my feeng is that the new
power in lib is as disgted as you and me by what has happened to the father. and they will certainly not-- . >> rose: because they wanted to see him on trial. >> yes, and they did not want to do to him what he did to them. thisi heard that so off friend them. i spoke to most of them after the lynching of qaddafi on the phone. i was so concerned. i was so-- it was really internal. and they shared, strangely enough, in spite of their suffering, they shared my concern. most of them, jabril, we were with him at this table one year ago. seven months ago. they shared my concern and that is why i cannot say i'm sure but i really believe that saif will have a fair trial. >> rose: all right, one last question because it is france and becauset's politics. do you think sarkozy will be
re-elected? >> do i think-- i think that he have a pretty good chance to be re-elected. >> rose: dow really? >> i rlly believe so. >> alan can to the defeat him. >> of course he can defeat him. >> rose: has this, has this libya made him-- added to-- helped sarkozy in terms of the voters attitude about him. >> apparently not. >> rose: exactly that is what i read. >> if you see the polls, it did not add one vote to him but you kn, a democratic debate in france exactly as in america, it ends as a body to body opposition. at the end of the battle. you have face-to-face two men, two bodies and two men opposing themselves. sarkozy and elan. and this moment, my gets, my
bet is that what is happening on the europe debt, what did happen on libya which is, how i would say that, written in a sympathetic ink on sarkozy might appear. and he might appear as-- it is not by wish. i'm a leftist, socialist and so on. but i feel that it might appear as a sort of signature of sovereignty or something like that. leadership, leadership. >> speak of that, are you also good friends, very good friend or a good friend of dominique strauss-kahn. he is now back in france, early on, you wrote that this could not have happened. because you knew this man. and did you not believe it. >> uh-huh. >> there is now some speculation because of things that have come up, that this might have been some kind of a conspiracy originating in france. do you believe that? >> you know, i read the article of-- in general, i
don't believe-- i don't buy conspiracy theories. in this case i read the article in the new york review of books. >> edward epstein, i was not convinced at a. i don't believe so, no, no. i think it is-- it might have been, i don't know, a little gang of the area of this lady, mrs. -- having trapped him for a little money. this, yes. but a plot coming from france, i think it is absurd. >> and the security forces and their relationship. >> absurd, absurd. absurd, absurd. i don't think so. i continue to say that what happened to-- strauss-kahn was unfair. that this world humiliation was unuseful because at the end of the day, at the end of the story he was sent back to france free so what for.
this humiliation, this per walk, thiprivate life given to the dogs of the world, what for. so it was unfair. it was unuseful. you should just imagine the reverse. barack obama during the primaries against clinton, being caught in france in a possible-- thing, being arrested, a ofhis circus, l over the world and it would be a different country today sohat happened to strauss-kahn is a very strange history between allies, between america and france. >> so if he had not been arrested in america t is likely he would have been the next president of france. >> maybe. at least the course of history has changed. we would not have alond. >> would you have dominique strauss-kahn. >> but this being said, i don't-- i don't believe in any plot. you have all these people,
plots everywhere. each time there is a mystery you have a plot. each time you have a very strange some believe there is a plot. each time there is unexplainable story, so extraordinary that you cannot find a rational explanation, like kennedy, kennedy assassination, you find a plot. but this is a magical-- it is not -- >> this book cled in french, i will have you pronounce it since your french is better than mine. >> not true. your french is good. >> also called war without love, it will be published in america at the beginning of 2012. thank you for coming. great to see you captioning sponsored by rose communications